Published On: Thu, Apr 28th, 2022

The Relationship Between Technology And Religion

Right from the prints to the radio and the Internet, there have been massive advances in communication technology and it has had a solid impact on the changes in our religious practices. Even the penetration of mobile devices across the world has led to a huge change, allowing worshippers to have a personal religious environment in a secure world. Currently, there are hundreds of apps that allow parishioners to bring Buddhist prayer wheels, and Bible quotes wherever they go. It allows them to continue practicing their religion in new spaces and times. The distance does not matter and neither does the time, as long as you are connected with technology.

However, some leaders are worrying that the isolating nature of the smartphone has created worshippers who are unable to engage with the essence of quiet meditation that lies underneath the Eastern and Western religious cultures. Churches often use innovative technologies for prayers and online payments in church windows. It helps the church get complete access to simplify the administrative tasks. There are many who get their entire religious experience through a device. Here’s how the relationship between technology and religion looks for worshippers today. 

Image by SplitShire from Pixabay

iMeditation is also a meditation on your phone 

Those who have used technology to reach out to the geographically scattered audience and conduct services over the smartphone have noticed that there is a massive difference in how worshippers can experience the process. Smartphones are integrated into religious services but a lot of people tend to disengage from the experience and there is a certain excitement and nervousness that enters the room and takes over.

There are people who consider themselves to be multitaskers and even they are not paying as much attention as they think they are. When the communication is fragmented, it is hard to develop supplication. It could lead to a problem for leaders who are looking to reach out to younger devotees. They will not only accept technology to be a part of any activity but will also have a short attention span which will make the religious ceremonies feel longer and more off-putting. It could be the end of the traditional ways of religious worship and a new kind of worship that caters to the younger generation. It is a transition that nobody can control or predict. But if you are someone who looks at a smartphone and wonders how it will change the way you pray, you are missing the point. Religion has a deeper meaning and technology can change how people interact with one another but religion connects everyone. So, a meditation app on your smartphone is still meditation, no matter where and how you do it. 

Virtual congregations 

In a lot of religious institutions, technology has a unique appeal and it has helped unite different communities, irrespective of the geographical bounds. It is now possible for pastors to post their sermons online and even Muslim worshipers can decide if they want to podcast the call to prayer from Medina or Mecca. This is bringing people closer to religion without them having to be there in person.

If there are worshippers who are unable to find their way to the religious institution for services, they can pray with congregation members using their phones and they can be confident that they are doing the right thing with many others by their side. This brings a sense of international, large community praying together and it can be more powerful than you think.  

Technology is taking over everywhere 

Technology is bringing people closer, virtually of course. But, by allowing the faithful to be a part of any religious activity, no matter where they are, smartphones and technology are actually allowing the worshippers to build a religious world around them. The young worshippers could be in a secular environment but they could be a part of any religious ceremony through their phones. This way, smartphones can serve those who are moving religious services out of public life.

For the traditional worshippers, the idea of offering service through the smartphone may not seem appealing but it helps attract the young, new worshippers and brings them closer to religion. In a broader context, religion is so much more than the boundaries or geographies we have set for ourselves and whether it is through the smartphone or any other technology, as long as people have faith and are offering services, it is worth the while.  

It is not just religion that technology is taking over. Our lives have become tech-oriented and it is impossible to spend a day without a gadget in your hands. If it is religion you use the Internet and smartphone for, there is nothing wrong with it. As long as there is faith and no disorientation with regard to the services you are offering, technology is doing its job well.

Author: Hemant Kumar Gupta

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